God is Faithful, Always

“O Lord God of hosts, Who is mighty like You, O Lord?   Your faithfulness also surrounds You.”     Psalm 89:8

 

            To say I feel a little overwhelmed would be a major understatement. But not necessarily for the reasons you may think, considering the events of the past week.

First, I’m overwhelmed at the Greatness and Goodness of our God. In the words of King David, who am I Lord that you would be so gracious to me? God took what could have been a tragic event and showed us His love and His protection over Larry’s life. When he fell and shattered the T9 vertebra, it shattered on three sides but the fourth side stayed intact, protecting his spine.

Second thing, the peace. Throughout Larry’s hospital stay, during the surgery and recovery, we both had a sense of peace and we know it was from all the prayers being offered on our behalf. Overwhelming peace.

And third thing, the love.  Not only the love of God covering us, the love of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Phone calls, text messages, hospital visits and gifts, each one reminds us that it is the overwhelming love of Christ through believers that bind us together so we never walk through difficult times alone.

Larry and I still face some uncertainties, decisions that we’ll have to make that will affect our future. When the doctor tells a contractor that he can no longer climb ladders or lift heavy objects, that’s not what he wants to hear. But we know our God is faithful and He has our future in His hands. As our pastor said this morning, it’s not about how big our faith is, but it is about how big our God is.

“I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.” Psalm 37:25

 

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Dee

 

Happy Birthday, USA!

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.” Psalm 33:12

American Flags

Every year in the small town where I grew up, Richland Springs TX, they celebrate America’s Independence on the 1st Saturday of July. While my parents were alive, we would go visit them over the week-end and be there for the celebration, but I’ve rarely gone since they died. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve felt a tug back to my roots and to the place I came from. So this year I decided I would go.
The day started off with a parade and while it may not have been as big as you would see in a larger town, for a community of 455 residents, it was wonderful. A color-guard on horseback started it off followed by more flags and a float with the local veterans. There were pick-ups pulling trailers, all decorated in red, white and blue and lots of sparkle. There were 4-wheelers, dune-buggies, and motorcycles. There were kids in funny hats and dogs in sunglasses. There were antique tractors and brand new semi-s, and of course the VFD fire trucks. And candy- lots of candy thrown to folks watching the parade. The Richland Springs Coyote high school football team (who won the state 6-man championship for the 7th time last fall) and the high school cheerleaders as well as the middle school football team and cheerleaders had floats. The First Baptist Church had their van in the parade inviting kids to their Vacation Bible School in a couple of weeks. Everyone was there celebrating their freedoms and their victories.
Throughout the day, there were competitions for horseshoes, washers, and this year for the first time, a 2-man pig-sacking completion. There were bounce houses and a water slide for the kids.
The day wrapped up with a fireworks show. The Star Spangled Banner was sung over the loud speaker, then BOOM, the spectacular display of bursting colors began. It was a show that could put many larger towns to shame, lasting over an hour, it was amazing.
As I sat there watching the beautiful display, I could only think about the fact that even as many things we see wrong in our hation, there are still a lot of things that are right. And all those things right with our nation, can be seen right there in my small farm community hometown of Richland Springs, Texas, USA.
Yes, we have people trying to destroy our nation, from the outside and even within our own government, but we still have men and women willing to fight defending her.
Yes, there are too many people just wanting a hand-out and for the government to give them everything free, but there are still hard working men and women, taking pride in their labors, working hard to support and provide for their families.
Yes, we have too many young people with no sense of responsibility or goals beyond pursuit of their own pleasure, but we still have many young people with goals and dreams, who believe in competing to win.
Yes, there are too many people, places and institutions who exclude God and godly beliefs, but there are still more who love God and who are willing to share the love of Jesus Christ with the nation. Let us who do know the Lord continue to pray for this nation, pray for our leaders, and for the upcoming elections that we may continue to live quiet and peaceful lives serving the Lord.
Happy Birthday, USA! And may your next 240 years be even greater!

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

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Color-guard

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My Uncle Robert Lewis, 2nd from left, fought in WWII

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Dressed as the Bride

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27 (NKJV)

rach_chris_wedding_resizedIs there anything more radiant and beautiful than a bride on her wedding day? There is just something special about her, a glow from knowing she has been chosen and is loved by the one she also loves.
As believers, we are the Bride of Christ. The Apostle Paul compared the relationship between a husband and wife to that of Christ and the Church. Reading Ephesians 5:27, “…that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle…” I asked God what does that look like? Knowing the church is made up of people, warts and all, how can it be without spot or wrinkle?
“Go back to the beginning,” God whispered. So I did. The book of Genesis tells us God created Mankind, Male and Female, in His image, to be His representatives on the earth. Then He gave them authority over everything created thing on the earth. They were created in God’s similitude, they were intelligent and they had no sense of shame. There is no sin in God, so they had no sin nature, they knew nothing about sin. (Read Gen. 1:26-28, Gen. 5:1-2, Gen. 2:20-25.)
As I pondered these verses, I kept wondering how did the man and woman not see one another’s nakedness? I could understand having no shame, because there was no sin or guilt attached to them. But how did they not see the nakedness?
Every creature was created with a natural covering, except mankind. Dogs and cats have fur, fish have scales, horses have hides and birds have feathers. But what covered Adam and Eve?
God’s glory! They were covered, or clothed by God’s glory! They had been created in His image, to be His representatives on the earth, God had covered them with His glory. The man and woman walked and talked with God in the Garden, without fear or shame. Then suddenly everything changed.
The serpent entered the Garden and offered Eve something she already had, telling her if she ate of the fruit from the tree in the center of the Garden, she would be like God. When she saw it looked good, she took it and gave it to her husband. With that one act of disobedience, sin entered the Garden, and mankind’s sin nature was born. Suddenly they were truly naked because they lost their covering of God’s glory. They tried to cover themselves with fig leaves, but it was not enough, blood had to be spilt to cover their sin. (See Gen 3:4-8, 21.)
I pressed God for more. I needed another witness regarding His glory on man. He took me to the book of Exodus and the story of Moses.
Moses was God’s servant, an humble man the Bible calls him, yet it says “God spoke to him face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. (Ex. 33:11)
God called Moses to meet Him on the Mountain and God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and the Law. Moses asked God to see His glory, and God said He would show him His goodness. God put Moses in the cleft of a rock, covered his face as He walked by, and allowed Moses to see His backside. (Read Ex. 33:18-23.)
After forty day and nights, when Moses came down the mountain, his face beamed with light. The NKJV says Moses face “shown” and the Hebrew word used is “qaran” (Strong’s H7160) and means “to send out rays”. Moses’ face was sending out rays of light, or rays of God’s glory from seeing and speaking with God on the mountain for forty days and nights. It was so brilliant, the people were afraid and Moses had to cover his face when he would speak to the people. (Read Exodus 34:5-8, 30-35.)
The second witness God gave me is Jesus. The 17th chapter of Matthew gives us the account of Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. It says Jesus’ face shown like the sun, and His clothes were white as the light. When Jesus came to the earth, He did not come as the Son of God, but as the Son of Man. But that day on the mountain, for just a moment the Deity of Jesus was unveiled and the glory of God revealed. (Read Matthew 17:1-7)
What does that mean for us? When Adam and Eve sinned, mankind lost their covering of God’s glory. They brought sin and death, neither of which are compatible with God’s glory. There was only one way to restore what Adam lost. A Man would have to pay the price. But not just any man would do, it had to be the sinless Son of God, come in the flesh.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” When Jesus came, He lived as a man, but He did what Adam could not. He lived a perfect sinless life, “He knew no sin”. But God placed on Him every sin of every person born, every evil deed, every wicked thought, every perversion, so that the penalty for sin was paid in full. Now no matter what our past, present or future looks like, our sin is not just covered, but done away with; we are made “the righteousness of God” the moment we receive Christ and are born again! Praise God! Once again we are covered with God’s glory, only now instead of it being on the outside, as it was with Adam and Eve, and with Moses, now it dwells on the inside!
The Bride of Christ is a beautiful, radiant bride, covered from the inside out with the glory of God!

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 61:10

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee
New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Good Choices Bad Choices

 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore [you] choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” Deuteronomy 30:19

            My 7-year old grandson recently got into trouble at home and was grounded from participating in shooting off fireworks for the fourth of July, something he’d been looking forward to doing. But his parents wisely told him it was because of the choice he’d made to do something he knew was wrong. My daughter and son-in-law never tell the kids that they are bad when they misbehave, but tell them that the choice they made was a bad choice. “We love you, son, but you made a bad choice and here are the consequences.”

             I was reading John 13 this morning in my quiet time, and God showed me something I’d not totally understood before.

 “When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.’ Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke. Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.’ And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, ‘What you do, do quickly.’ But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, ‘Buy those things we need for the feast,’ or that he should give something to the poor. Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.” John 13:21-30  

             The Old Testament prophesied that one close to the Messiah would betray Him.  “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” (Psalm 41:9) When Jesus chose Judas Iscariot to be one of the twelve, He knew it would be Judas who betrayed Him. Jesus saw what was already in his heart.

             This morning as I was reading, I felt the Lord say to me “Notice that it was after Jesus offered Judas the dipped bread and he took it, that Satan entered into him. Up until that moment, Judas had the choice to do it or not.” That really struck me. Until the moment Judas took the bread from Jesus’ hand while He was saying “The one I give this piece of bread is the one who will betray me”, Judas had a choice. He could have said, “No, Lord, not I” but he didn’t. He chose to accept the bread and in doing that he yielded to Satan.

             In Matthew’ account of that night, Jesus warns Judas of the consequences of his actions. “He answered and said, ‘He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me. The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.’” (Matthew 26: 23-24)

             We all have freewill. Even Judas Iscariot had a choice. He made the wrong one, as it was prophesied he would do. God has set before us choice – life through His Son Jesus Christ, or eternal death.

             Jesus said “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

 I chose life!

 

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Dee

 

Good Footwear

                         “Stand therefore, having your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.” Ephesians 5:14, 15 (21st Century King James Version)

         My husband and I decided that since the holidays are over and work has slowed down, now is a good time to get back in the habit of going to the gym and working out regularly.

        Since I’ve been wearing my good walking shoes to work so much the past few months, I decided it was time replace them. Amazing the difference a new pair of well-fitting walking shoes can make. That knee pain I’d been experiencing lately walking any distance, now gone. I walked a little over two and a half miles this morning and I felt like I could have kept going if I’d had more time.

         I was reminded that just like wearing the right shoe for walking and exercise, we also need the right foundation for our spiritual lives. The Apostle Paul says “having…your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”
    What is the “gospel of peace”? It is the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, that He came in the flesh, He died on the cross for our sin and rose again from the grave, so that we can have peace with God. And the preparation of the Gospel of peace? Not only do we need to know what He’s done for us, but we should also be ready to share that gospel.

               1 Peter 3:15 says “But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully.” (Amplified Bible)

         “…be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks…” Just like the right shoe is necessary, so having a good foundation and understanding about what you believe and why, is necessary. That requires spending time reading and meditating on God’s Word, listening to good Bible teachers, praying and seeking God.

         The Amplified Bible says in Ephesians 6:14-16 “Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God,
 And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace.
Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one].”
 
         Not only do we need to be ready to share the Gospel of peace with other people, but having that knowledge and preparation, we are ready to face the enemy “with firm-footed stability”. Our best defense against the wicked one is knowing who we are and what we have in Jesus.

    So, I ask how are your shoes?

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee